Every year, at Christmas, my family, and I’m sure a lot of yours too, get sent a few “Robin Robin” letters describing another family’s year in pointless detail. Most are awful, charting a child’s progess at school and the best meal they had on holiday that summer, but they make a strangely fascinating read in the empty days before New Year. I thought I would print my favourite from 2012 to share with you all. It’s from the Brink Family, written by Charles Brink who my Dad tells me he briefly met twelve years ago on a wine tasting course. He described him as a man “unsure of his own height and prone to winking.” Enjoy…
“Salutations from the Brink family! And so ends another hectic year, phew! Time to put our feet up for a well-earned rest and look back on 2012, and what a year it’s been this year. Lots of highs and sadly a few lows.
2012 was certainly a year of “finishing projects.” We finally finished building an extension to the garage but realised we had built it the wrong way round and now there is no room for a car. Fortunately we had to sell the car anyway to raise money to finish the extension. It looks lovely. Imagine a porch inside a garage and you’ll have some idea of what we are talking about!
Sadly 2012 also saw our youngest, Billy, “finish the project” of his life when, on holiday in the South of France, he exploded quite without warning. A loss at any time, but a particular shame as up until that point the holiday had been a fine success; we have been going back to the same gîte for a few years now and it really feels like a home from home! Since last we visited une petite supermarche has opened in the village which was very handy for buying things like bread, cheese, yoghurts, toilet rolls, a last minute light bulb, candles, bottled water (you can never be sure can you!) etc. There were lots of things they stocked that we never even tried. Maybe next year I suppose! They also charge you a few Euro cents for a plastic bag which really makes you think about the environment. The weather, yet again, did not disappoint either. I kept saying to Christine, if they stocked the English papers we might never leave! She said she would miss BBC’s “Holby City” which was a pretty stupid thing to say and didn’t go down well considering the recent fatal injury to our son.
July saw me complete a forward roll for the first time in 14 years. At the moment I have no plans to do one in 2013, but never say never I suppose!
2012 also saw Christine and I finally join the 20th century when we both got smart phones. I M Gting pretty Gud @ txt spk. Cn U tell? Lol (laugh out loudly.) We also use them instead of maps which means we have had to let go of the young boy we hired to carry our maps. To date I have downloaded four apps and Christine has downloaded three. I also stole a photocopier from a hospital and spent a fun two months photocopying the entire house and rebuilding it, sheet by sheet, in the garden. It stayed up pretty well and some nights Christine would sleep there instead of the real house.
The end of August saw the second of our children spontaneously combust (apparently a record for a calendar year within a family! Do we get a certificate? Ha ha!) Always the drama queen, Bernice happened to pop during the Olympics closing ceremony so I still haven’t seen it all, although Christine kindly got me the DVD for Christmas (after a few strong hints!) Not sure if it was all part of Danny Boyle’s masterplan but I wouldn’t be surprised at all, genius man!
Fortunately we had a better idea how to handle the situation this time and all these rooms becoming free turned into a bit of a moneymaker as, in October, we took in a lodger. A foreign chap with a neat little moustache and a heavy sigh. It was Christine’s idea to advertise for a lodger so I suppose she’s good for something at last! (Joking Christine!) We played a game of Scrabble with him once but all his words were a bit morose and I decided against speaking to him again. A few weeks later he appeared to have moved out as we didn’t see him for the longest time, but it turned out he had got stuck inside the extension in the garage having gone in chasing a ball or some such. Christine continues to leave food for him and he left a suitcase of banknotes in the room which is more than covering his rent so it’s all worked out rather well.
I’m pleased to say our garden faired well again this year, despite the fires. I was blind drunk when I sowed the seeds and it was out best ever crop of celeriac, so perhaps I will try that again! Although Christine was less than impressed when the carrots grew in the shape of a penis and balls. “We’ve all got them!” I laughed, but we did spend some time apart after that. On the plus side the make up sex was spectacular.
Speaking of sex, our oldest, Libby, has joined a cult which she seems to be really enjoying. We were hoping she’d go to college but she didn’t get the grades. We are now focusing most of our attention on our remaining son Alex.
Sadly though, in 2012 I was the victim of crime when a young, foreign fellow stole my collarbone right in the middle of the street. Outside of John Lewis of all places! He has asked me if I had the time and of course I carry a watch with me in a waterproof bag at all times, so I went to fish it out of my wheelie case when, quick as a flash, he had pulled my collarbone out and was making a dash for it. Dazed, I fired off a few shots into the crowd as he ran off but only managed to injure a dog. Well I have to say the hospital staff were fabulous and everyone chipped in with a bit of their own collarbones so everything is working just fine again, except I can’t do any heavy lifting and if I see a clock I scream.
A year wouldn’t be complete of course without Christine exhibiting her cakes at the local fair and this year she was delighted to pick up a well deserved runner up ribbon for her marbled sponge. Sadly her gooseberry jam was deemed too risqué and didn’t place. I exhibited my carrot and was asked to leave quite soon after that. “We’ve all got them!” I laughed for the second time that year but not enough people realised it was a callback and it didn’t get what it deserved.
Also this year we watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” on DVD. It’s a recent film about people in a hotel in India of all places! It was just the right mix of humour, emotion and colourful scenery and we all agreed we would happily watch it again one day. Then in October I discovered I had carrying been carrying the embryo of my dead twin in me all my life and it was starting to come back to life. The doctors still aren’t sure why but I imagine it has something to do with all the radiation. Fortunately the little fella took a wrong turn inside me and ended up cooked by my own gastric acids. “Needs a bit more seasoning” I joked at the time but Christine took it badly and wept for days.
November, as usual, was spent learning new knots and practicing the ones we already knew. Think I’ve finally got my head round the sheepshank and Christine is delighted with her sheet bend. In total I learnt three new knots. Knot too bad!
December has proved a busy month as well. We were haunted by the sounds of an infant sobbing, which could be heard any time the boiler was on. Fortunately it was a mild winter and if we did get cold we would sit in the paper house and slowly burn whichever room we were in. The boiler was only a few years old so it seemed a bit odd. After a thorough search and a visit from a plumber and a priest, it turned out the sobbing was in our heads. We burnt the last of the papers rooms where by chance our lodger had been hiding out with the boy who used to carry our maps and that seemed to do the trick.
And so, roll on 2013! We’ve already set ourselves some quite challenging targets for sex in the New Year, Christine has a great idea for a cake design and I’ve got over 5 hours of a certain Olympics DVD to watch. It’s going to be another hectic year!
All the best to you and yours…
The Brink Family x “